GM to phase out local sedan production

GM to phase out local sedan production

US carmaker General Motors plans to phase out manufacturing and marketing of its sedan passenger cars in Thailand, leaving only pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) for the local market.

GM produces four models at its production plant in Rayong. Chevrolet Cruze is the only sedan passenger car made locally. The three other models are the Colorado pickup truck and SUV variants Trailblazer and Captiva.

Wail A. Farghaly, the managing director of GM Thailand, said the company will continue to market the Cruze until the end of its life cycle.

Mr Farghaly, managing director of GM Thailand, says pickup demand is strong.

GM has not disclosed an exact time frame for when it is going to phase out its production, but normally the life cycle of a vehicle is four years.

The Cruze was launched in 2015.

Mr Farghaly said there would be no more new models in the passenger car segment for GM in the future.

However, GM's passenger car customers will still be eligible for continued services through Chevrolet's maintenance service centres, provided by 94 outlets and service centres nationwide.

Last year GM sold only 312 Chevrolet passenger cars, down by 89.3% year-on-year. But sales of its core model, the Colorado, increased 10.4% last year to 12,844 trucks.

Sales of the Trailblazer and Captiva remained in the red, down by 25.6% and 55.3% to 1,185 units and 590 units, respectively.

Mr Farghaly said Thai demand for pickup trucks and SUVs remains strong. The parent company has done well traditionally in the Thai market with these vehicle styles.

"GM's strategic transformation was announced two years ago," he said.

"The locally made Colorado and Trailblazer models will be emphasised for exports to Asean and Oceania in the future. The company has witnessed a good momentum in each region."

GM expects to double export volume of both the Colorado and Trailblazer this year, both for completely built-up (CBU) and completely knocked-down units.

A report from the Federation of Thai Industries noted GM shipped 39,602 units of CBUs from Thailand, up by 10.1% year-on-year.

He expects domestic sales of Chevrolet to recover this year after contracting for four straight years, but no projection was available.

GM posted record sales of 75,461 vehicles in 2012 before dropping to 56,389 in 2013 and 25,700 in 2014. In 2016 it sold 14,931 vehicles, down by 14.5% from 17,456 in 2015.

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